Does ‘Baby Driver’ have the best soundtrack on Netflix?
(Credit: Netflix)


Does 'Baby Driver' have the best soundtrack on Netflix?

Few elements can elevate a film’s experience like a killer soundtrack can. From the achy-breaky tunes of 500 Days of Summer to the electrifying beats of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the iconic music of Pulp Fiction, movies owe a significant chunk of their cool cred to the music that accompanies them. Poor Things would have a different vibe if not for Jerskin Fendrix’s innovative and brilliant score. However, when it comes to films that have objectively epic soundtracks, no conversation is complete without mentioning Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver.

Released in June 2017, Baby Driver swiftly garnered acclaim for its innovative use of music, which drove its narrative forward with a lot of pizzazz. Wright directed and wrote the film, inspired by a music video. It stars Ansel Elgort as the titular character, a getaway driver simply known as Baby.

Baby relies on a constant stream of music to drown out his tinnitus. When a heist goes awry, Baby finds himself in the middle of a high-stakes game of survival. Suddenly, he has to find his escape route through a maze of cops, criminals, and personal dilemmas.

What sets Baby Driver apart from other heist films is its seamless integration of music into every aspect of the film. One pivotal scene, about an hour into the movie, is a perfect example of how seasoned sound designer Julian Slater bolsters the storytelling with music. As Baby and his crew engage in a tense standoff, the gunfire synchronises with the rhythm of the Latin rock classic ‘Tequila’, creating a visceral experience where bullets dance to the beat. The pulse-pounding adrenaline action scene is built around the beats.

Behind the scenes, the mastermind responsible for orchestrating this auditory symphony, Slater, collaborated closely with Wright to bring his vision to life. He dissected each musical cue provided in the script and curated the music selection. Alongside music editor Bradley Farmer, Slater crafted a unique tempo map for every song, enabling synchronisation at any moment in the film. The result? Every gunshot, engine rev, and screech is harmonised perfectly with the rhythm of the soundtrack. But it did not come easy. There had to be a method to the madness.

In an interview with Digital Trends, Slater discussed the intricate process of crafting the film’s signature soundscapes. One of the key challenges Slater and his team faced was synchronising sound effects with the film’s eclectic soundtrack. Unlike traditional films, where sound is typically synced to timecode, Baby Driver required a shift to a musical approach, mapping every sound to the tempo of the accompanying song. 

“For example, there’s the ‘Hocus Pocus’ track playing when [Baby] is involved in a foot chase,” Slater explained. “The tempo of that track is not a constant thing. It’s not a ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4’ thing. It varies.” From police sirens to gunshots and even gear-shifting sounds, every element had to be in perfect harmony by meticulous design.

Moreover, Wright’s meticulous planning and foresight ensured that music played an integral role from the film’s inception. “Edgar sort of wrote the script around each song,” Slater revealed. Wright also ensured the actors were cued in on which music would accompany which scene. “When he pitched it to each individual actor, he released the script in an iPad app. When you turned each page, it played the relevant piece of music.”

The cast — Elgort, Lily James, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Jon Bernthal — were also always listening to the curated music while filming. So, everything from their walk to their dialogue delivery was in sync with the rhythm flowing through the entire movie. “They’d have it [music] playing across speakers on the set so everyone could hear it,” Slater added. “So it was always in the DNA of the movie.”

Baby Driver may not have the best soundtrack on Netflix, given its vast library of rotating content, but it definitely set a new standard for auditory storytelling in cinema. It is a visceral and unforgettable experience where music isn’t just background noise — it’s the very heartbeat of the story.

You can stream Baby Driver on Netflix.